Saba Shaik

Saba Shaik
sshaik 'at'
Degrees Pursued: Masters, Doctorate
Research Interests: electrospray thruster microfluidics, performance, electrochemistry


Saba is a Ph.D. candidate in the Space Propulsion Lab. In 2021, she received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Saba's doctoral work focuses on electrospray fluidics and flow control. Previously, she researched electrochemistry in electrospray thrusters for her S.M. thesis, and electrospray facility effects at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.

Research Summary:

Electrospray thrusters require active flow control to prevent common failure modes like propellant leakage and flooding. However, traditional feed systems tend to be much bulkier than the thrusters themselves, negating the tremendous savings that electrosprays offer in size and weight. We are currently developing novel microfluidic flow controllers to provide reliable propellant management within the compact form factor of an electrospray thruster unit.

Electrochemical reactions can diminish the lifetime of electrospray sources through contamination, corrosion, and propellant mass loss. Research in this area focuses on characterizing electrochemical processes in electrospray thrusters, identifying their primary influencers, and quantifying the resulting performance losses. With this information, electrosprays can be designed to be more resilient against chemical degradation.